Fall 2006 - Volume 9 Issue 3

Informal Faculty Mentoring as a Component of Learning to Teach Online: An Exploratory Study

by Debbie Thompson

Distance education has become an important instructional method for institutes of higher learning over the last decade. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003) , during the 2000-2001 academic year, 56 percent of all 2- and 4-year institutions offered distance education courses, and this represents an increase of approximately 34 percent over a three-year period. According to the report, ninety percent of all institutions that offered distance education courses used asynchronous Internet courses as their primary technology for instructional delivery. Faculty development programs have become essential to prepare faculty to teach in the online environment. Institutions often provide training for their faculty by way of faculty development.


Multimedia Presentation Software Solutions for Internet-Based Courses


by Larry A. Pace
& Frances A. Kelley

The authors discuss multimedia presentation software ( MPS ) solutions in the context of the growth of Internet-based courses. Representative solutions for creating multimedia course lectures at the desktop and enterprise levels are described and evaluated. The authors suggest criteria to assist in the selection, implementation, and administration of MPS solutions to maximize accessibility and student learning while minimizing expense.


The Concentric Support Model: A Model for the Planning and Evaluation of Distance Learning Programs

by Elizabeth Osika

Each year, the number of institutions offering distance learning courses continues to grow significantly (Green, 2002; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2003; Wagner, 2000). Broskoske and Harvey (2000) explained that “many institutions begin a distance education initiative encouraged by the potential benefits, influenced by their competition, and prompted by fear of not being involved in distance education” (p. 37). These are just some of the reasons the percentage of higher education institutions offering distance learning programs exceeded 56% (n = 2,320) in 2000-01 (NCES, 2003).


The Evolution of Peer Driven Training for Teaching Online Courses

by Peter J. Shapiro

Online courses at Bergen Community College (BCC) began in the late 1990's with an imperative from the college President to develop online courses. Senior faculty members who dared to experiment with this new mode of teaching had to learn how to design a course and how to use WebCT, a new course management system, on their own. As these faculty leaders (and those that followed) learned the painful lessons through trial and error, it became obvious that something more was necessary.


Emerging Leadership Roles in Distance Education: Current State of Affairs and Forecasting Future Trends

by Lisa Marie Portugal

This paper discusses the enormous impact distance learning has had on traditional higher education and addresses emerging leadership roles. The writer will address and discuss qualities that are necessary for leaders and the success of their distance education initiatives. Topics discussed include critical issues relating to the evolution and continuation of distance learning programs such as globalization, consistent lack of federal and state educational funding, a growing student population, and the emergence of the Internet.


Podcasting: Co-opting MP3 Players for Education and Training Purposes


by Kimberley M. Donnelly
& Zane L. Berge

Podcasting and podcatching provide trainers and teachers with powerful, personal tools for delivering exactly the right content to learners at teachable moments—anytime, anywhere. The strength of podcasting lies in the potency of voice communication, which cuts through the dense text of the Internet and offers a human connection during distance training. In addition, podcasting offers the ability for learners to multitask and to time-shift content.


Benchmarking Quality in Online Degree Programs Status and Prospects.


by Michael A. Mariasingam
& Donald E. Hanna

The number of online degree programs offered by universities, both within the United States and in other countries around the globe, has expanded remarkably from the year 2000 to 2005. Recent research [ Pond (2002), Twigg, (2001), Swail and Kampits (2001), Nielson (1997)] indicates that this rapid expansion has superceded our understanding of how to plan, organize, and evaluate these programs effectively.


A Strategy for Building Community and Knowledge Management

by Stephanie Scheer & Elizabeth Fanning


The University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS), serves a broad, ethnically diverse and talented community of over 15,000 adult students each year. The SCPS mission is to facilitate lifetime learning by providing educational opportunities of the highest quality so that learners can achieve their personal and professional goals. This mission will be accomplished by developing and delivering University educational programs of the highest quality at times and in places consistent with the needs and interests of our learners.


From the Editor

This issue brings a new design for OJDLA. With these changes, you’ll find not only a fresh look but also a search function (greatly requested by our readers). This is the first time we’ve changed our appearance in the entirety of our eight years, and I hope you are pleased.

Last month, my family and I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska (UNL) where, after four years, I graduated with a Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Ed Leadership in Higher Education). It was my very first trip to the beautiful Cornhusker state, since I completed my entire program online. For those of you who have been through the doctoral process, I’m sure you’ll recall what a uniquely odd feeling it is to be “done” after all those months and years of overdrive. Reviewing some of the articles in this month’s issue took me right back to a comfortable level of thinking about my dissertation research related to how faculty prepare to teach online.

For instance, there are two articles (very different from one another) addressing faculty mentoring. Peter Shapiro of Bergen Community College shares the trials and successes of a comprehensive online training program for online faculty, and Debbie Thompson of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke looks at how informal faculty mentoring occurs on university campuses. There are also six other outstanding contributions this month on topics ranging from leadership and planning to community building.

In early October, we will issue our call for proposals for our annual Distance Learning Administration Conference (June 2007). Please watch the conference website (linked in the column at left) for more information. We are currently in the process of re-designing that website as well, and hope to have it updated by October 1. Thanks for visiting the OJDLA, and if you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
September 15, 2006